Locomondo is one of the most known and successful bands in Greece. The 7-member band fronted by Markos Koumaris, the main songwriter and composer of the group, fuses Reggae, Ska and Caribbean sounds with Greek traditional musical elements.
The members of the group are: Markos Koumaris (vocals, guitar), Yiannis Varnavas (vocals guitar), Spyros Mpesdekis (bass), Stamatis Goulas (keybords), Stratos Angelos Soundris (drums), Mike Mourtzis (percussion), Thanassis "Spogos" Tampakis (Sound Engineer).They have released 8 albums, including Locomondo Live!, which turned gold in December 2011. Two of their video clips have received the "Best Alternative Video Clip" award from Mad-TV Greece (in 2007 and 2010).
Locomondo is the most known Reggae band in Greece, as well as the only Greek group that has recorded in Jamaica. This happened in 2005, when the band followed an invitation of ex Skatalites trombonist and Studio One legend Vin Gordon to the "island in the sun" and recorded the album "12 meres stin Jamaica" (12 days in Jamaica). The album contained two songs that turned out to be great hits in Greece, but also attracted attention beyond the Greek borders. The first was a reggae cover of the Rembetiko song Frangosyriani composed in 1935 by the legendary Markos Vamvakaris. Taking notice of this interesting musical mixture the German film director, screenwriter and producer of Turkish descent, Fatih Akin, included the song in his Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize winning film Soul kitchen in 2009, and used it as the soundtrack for the red carpet event of his film. The second hit of this album was "Den kani kryo stin Ellada" (its not cold in Greece), a hymn to solidarity and optimism. The song became a slogan in Greece and received millions of hits on Youtube.
In the next album "Me wanna dance" the band collaborated with Spanish singer Amparo Sanchez (Amparanoia) in Barcelona and Natty Bo (Ska Cubano) in Athens.
In 2010 Locomondo recorded "Goal", a romantic song about football, which turned out to be an unofficial soundtrack for the Greek National Football Team qualifying for the second time in its history in the final phase of the World Cup. The video clip of the song featured Greek national player Dimitris Salpingidis who scored the qualifying goal against Ukraine. Although the Greek team disqualified in the first round in South Africa, the band considered it as a strike of luck as Salpingidis scored against Nigeria on the 2nd game, becoming the first player that scored for Greece in a World Cup final phase.
In their latest releases, the band is daring to follow unexplored paths. In "Odysseia", released in the summer of 2013, the year that marks the tenth aniversary of Locomondo, the band experiments further with musical genres previously untouched by them, such as Country and traditional South American music. Their second international release, "New Day Rising", is released in November of 2013 and pushes their sound further in this direction.
Other interesting facts:
* In 2007 the band collaborated with Greek American director Christine Crokos composing and recording the soundtrack for the comedy "To Gamilio Party" (The wedding party). The film sold over 250.000 tickets and the song "To Gamilio Party" became one of the most loved wedding songs in Greece.
* They have shared the stage with artists and bands such as Manu Chao, the Wailers, Alpha Blondy, the Skatalites, Chumbawamba, Culture, Mad Professor, Amparanoia, Ojos de Brujo, Aswad and Ska Cubano among others.
* In 2010 the Band recorded a reggae cover of the popular German song " Griechischer Wein "(Greek wine) of the Austrian composer and singer Udo Jürgens . The song was produced by Marco Baresi, drummer of the Far East Band, that used to play for German Reggae star Gentleman, and is included in Locomondo’s first international release "Locomondo- Best of".
* In the album "Me wanna dance" and "To Gamilio Party", the band used a great variety of Greek traditional musical instruments such as buzuki, baglama, violin, Gaida, Tsampouna (Greek bagpipe), Kaval, Santouri, Cretan Lyra and Laud which gave the Caribbean sound a special Mediterranean touch.
* Today the band is working together with Dimitris Gasias (Violin), Vassilis Pangiotopοulos (trombone) and Nikos "Tattoo" (trumpet).